LA CABINA (1972)
Spanish language with English subtitles
Directed by Antonio Mercero
A middle aged man drops his son off for the school bus and decides to use the pay phone box in the square to call someone. After entering the phone box, he finds the phone does not work. After several failed attempts, he decides to give up and exit the telephone box. He can’t. Pushing with all his might, he cannot open the telephone box. Seeing a passer by, he asks for help and they too struggle to open the box from the other side. Soon all the residents from the neighbouring apartments flock around to see the man trapped inside a telephone box and laugh at his misfortune whilst he struggles to keep calm inside.
It may be 40 years old but this Emmy award winning Spanish TV movie is as fresh and frightening today as it was back then. The action is centred around a telephone box and whilst that may sound stupid, just give the 35 minute film above a watch and see for yourself just how terrifying this simple story is.
I first watched La Cabina without subtitles and even with the subtitles, it is the pure emotion, expressions and actions of the characters that tell this well written story. plays the unfortunate soul who accidently gets trapped inside the telephone box and your heart breaks for him as the community laugh as he struggles to escape. Some of the local citizens use the opportunity to shine shoes and sell lottery tickets to the crowds gathered to witness Vázquez’s misfortune.
The conclusion of the film is a very stark and bleak one, one that will stay with you for days, weeks… hell, even years! It’s never ever left my mind since watching it for the very first time all those years ago and it still gives me the chills now. A Spanish classic.